Blooming Grove Shares Caution
Of Likely County Funding Gaps
By Edie Johnson
Tuesday’s Blooming Grove Zoom Meeting made quick work of regular items: a list of payments toward significant projects for this year that include: the new Central Garage, Washingtonville culverts, Removal of May’s Tappan Hills Wastewater and Water Plant, the Salsbury Mills Firehouse Project and the culvert at Mays Field; they approved the Planning Board to be lead agency on the McCarthy Solar Project and purchase of Playground equipment at LasserPark. Then Supervisor Rob Jeroloman tackled a looming new problem.
Possible 30% to 60% Drop In Sales Tax Share Usually Given Back To Towns
Bad news came from Orange County Officials this week during a conference call. A very big chunk of Orange County funding comes from its portion of Sales Tax, income that the county gets from all sales in Orange County. Some of the bigger sales tax producers (like Woodbury Commons) have contracts in which they share their earnings not just with the municipality in which they reside, but with the other municipalities as well. With most shops closed, potentially for at least 2 months (including Woodbury Commons), the share that the County usually gives back to municipalities may be 30% to 60% short of what was previously expected. That includes lost income from Stewart Airport, including Jet Blue which has canceled all flights in New York for 2 months. Many other flights are canceled as well.
This lost funding will put a huge dent in the funding for every municipality in Orange County. The funding helps towns and villages plan their new projects as well as maintain ongoing programs and mitigate property taxes . Even trying to plan for such a big loss of income will be difficult for towns, since the biggest unknown is how businesses will bounce back when restrictions are over, all of which depend on how quickly the pandemic runs its course.
The end result, Jeroloman said, is that he and his staff have already started work amending a budget that is not usually addressed until August.
In a call to the County Executive’s Office about what can possibly be done to mitigate these losses over the following months, Assistant to the County Executive, Justin Rodriguez told the OC Post, “Sadly, there is no “softening”. The State Legislature did a subpar job determining local aid. In fact, they deferred the authority to make local cuts to the State Budget Director. So instead of making the hard decisions, they essentially punted. The true effect of their actions has yet to be determined. We need State Legislators to reduce wasteful spending, which places a burden on the hard-working taxpayers of Orange County.” Rodriguez messaged this morning that he has thought of a mitigating factor….Check on an update of this later.
Town and Village Boards, and Town Councils will undoubtedly be tied up in major recalculating efforts in the coming months, on an effort to save the very needed programs they have already planned for.
Councilman Chuck Quick, reported that he continues to be amazed at the selflessness of people contributing to help and protect residents during this COVID-19 epidemic. Councilman Tom DeVinko suggested that the Town plan acknowledgement to a committee member who has done a good job serving on important environmental projects.
Blooming Grove Calendar Updates
Due to the State of Emergency the Town has deferred all water and sewer billing for 30 days. You will not receive your water or sewer bill until May 15. We apologize if this causes any inconvenience. For further information please call 845-496-5223 ext. ext 328
The Electronic Recycling event that was to take place on April 18, 2020 has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date .